Additional Information About Travel to Ecuador
TippingAt the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your tour guide and driver a gratuity. Your WEST tour coordinator will collect the gratuity at any point during the tour (many travelers like to pay ahead of time to get it out of the way). Although it is not required, your driver and tour guides rely on these tips, and work hard to ensure you an unforgettable experience. We recommend tipping the equivalence of $3 USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6 USD/CAD to $9 USD/CAD per person per day for your tour guide. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2 USD/CAD per local guide, payable following the local tour. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
In order to enter Ecuador, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, contact the Costa Rican consulate for your particular entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you’ll have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
About Your Galapagos Cruise
Your Galápagos cruise offers the latest in cruise comfort while also providing an intimate and environmentally safe look at the Galápagos Islands. The yacht features an outdoor pool, observation decks, solarium, library, bar and large restaurant. Choose from a wide variety of activities in your free time—everything from snorkeling to stargazing. Please note: Due to the ship’s itinerary, the order of days in Quito before and after the cruise could change.
For your Galápagos cruise, casual dress is appropriate. Waterproof shoes or sandals, a bathing suit, sunscreen and insect repellent are essential for your visit to the Galápagos. On land, you’ll want to dress in light, loose-fitting clothing suitable for exploring the sights and pack a sun hat, sunglasses, sturdy pair of walking shoes and rain gear. If you plan to visit an elegant restaurant, you’ll probably feel more comfortable with something more formal to wear. Also, remember that it’s preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).
Ecuador falls on a similar time zone to Eastern Standard Time, except it does not observe daylight saving time. Ecuador has the same time as New York. From October to April, when it is 9 am on the west coast, it is noon in Ecuador. From April to October, when it is 9 am on the west coast, it is 11 am in Ecuador.
Travelers to Ecuador should be comfortable in high-altitude conditions. Elevation throughout the country varies widely. Travelers, especially those with heart or lung conditions, should consult with their personal healthcare providers before undertaking high-altitude travel.
In order for you to stay healthy throughout your tour, we recommend the following:
- Drink bottled water. Refrain from drinking tap water, including when brushing teeth.
- Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they are cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
- Bring a small first-aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication and any prescription medications.
Food in Ecuador relies heavily on locally grown fruits and vegetables, along with regional seafood and game. You’re likely to find local dishes featuring potatoes, yucca root, bananas and plantains. Seafood, including bass, trout and catfish, is also prevalent and served grilled, fried or marinated as ceviche. Ecuador’s tropical fruit is delicious—specialties include melons, papayas, passion fruit and tamarinds.
Round-trip flights arrive in and depart from Quito. The tour also includes a flight to and from the Galápagos Islands and the four-night island cruise. Most destinations on tour are walkable, including Quito, although local buses are available as well.
The U.S. dollar (USD) is the currency you’ll use in Ecuador. On land, you’ll find that ATMS are widely available. During your cruise, any onboard charges can be billed to your credit card. Please note that U.S. bank notes with denominations higher than $20 may not be accepted in some areas of Ecuador. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
Ecuador uses 110 volts, the same as in the U.S.